In this article, I discuss Richard Brome's tragicomedy The Queen and Concubine (1635–1636), focusing on how the play reflects the iconography of Charles I as well as Stuart ideals of statecraft. I argue that the play's representation of a royal ruler in a pastoral setting draws on Van Dyck's portraiture and on Charles I's masques, as well as on Lipsius's political concept of ‘love’. I claim that the play promotes a ‘politics of happiness’ which affirms the Caroline ideology of royal rule. My reading of Brome's play aims at furthering the critical understanding of the cultural and political concerns shared by court drama and drama written for the commercial theatre in the Caroline period.
Lena Steveker is Assistant Professor in English Studies at the University of Luxembourg. Her research interests are early modern English drama, early modern pamphlets, and early modern news culture as well as contemporary British fiction. She has published articles on Shakespeare, Middleton and Jonson, and on news pamphlets of the English civil wars. Her current book project is a monograph on early Stuart drama and news culture, and she has co-edited a collection on early modern spectacles. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org